Got a black thumb? Lead a high-powered lifestyle that keeps you away from home a lot, but still crave the comforting presence of greenery upon your return? Designer Kevin Chang has the planter for you: the Solar Planter concept (which comes to us via Ecofriend) collects moisture from the atmosphere to keep houseplants green and happy, even if you neglect them.

This innovative design–sponsored, apparently, by Solonix, as part of a challenge to integrate their new dye solar cell technology into everyday products–collects the energy of the sun, as well as artificial lighting, to power a condensation system. This system harvests moisture from ambient air inside your house, via a running fan in the exit vent that creates suction within the planter, drawing air in.

Solar Planter
image via Kevin Cheng

It sounds simple enough, but there is actually more–much more–to this concept.  The Solar Planter also records light and water input related to its resident plant. Using the data collected, the flow of water is optimized to maximize plant growth.  The planter is also connected to something called a Peltier module that acts as a thermoelectric heat pump. This acts as a cold sink, which absorbs heat from the surroundings and transfers it to a heat sink that radiates it. (To keep your plant warm, presumably, if you go on vacation and turn off the heat.) The air in the planter, cooled after condensation, is released into the room.

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